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This Week in Anime - So, Is Sound Euphonium Queerbaiting or Not?


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Axbox360



Joined: 25 Mar 2017
Posts: 44
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2024 9:57 am Reply with quote
Juno016 wrote:
light turner wrote:
But those two shows are also prime examples of being wishy washy and refusing to be committal for the sake of plausible deniability for the mainstream audience.


It's been a while since I've seen Yuri on Ice, but they kissed, didn't they? Obscured by their arms so as to try (and fail) to avoid controversy, but a kiss is a kiss. And G-Witch was anything but subtle. Part of the reason Bandai's denial of the characters' relationship was so dumb was because there is no ambiguity in the show itself. Things are rarely blatant in TV anime because gayness is still a controversial topic, but especially when they aired, both shows pushed boundaries. That pushing more and more boundaries is what we should praise, even if incremental.


The kiss in yuri on ice looked like a hug to me.

Fairy Ranmaru had multiple on screen same sex kisses but sadly no one talked about it.
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poisondusk



Joined: 08 Aug 2006
Posts: 63
Location: Brighton, UK
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2024 10:41 am Reply with quote
Axbox360 wrote:
Fairy Ranmaru had multiple on screen same sex kisses but sadly no one talked about it.


I loved Fairy Ranmaru, but it doesn’t get talked about because it was a weird, niche fanservice show, not a mainstream-friendly sports drama with a central gay couple.

There are a decent number of niche queer shows around now, whether it’s BL and yuri manga/LN adaptations, or weird/experimental one-cour shows that include queer themes, but there’s still not much around for viewers who just want to see a good show in their preferred non-romance genre that happens to have prominent queer characters, so people are bound to get more excited by the handful of examples of it even if they suffer from censorship/ambiguity/corporate backtracking that the niche shows can avoid.
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rizuchan



Joined: 11 Mar 2007
Posts: 976
Location: Kansas
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2024 11:24 am Reply with quote
Kaylee Smerbeck wrote:
No let's we get ignored all the time treated like a fetish "Isn't it enough I like girl on girl?" thanks Peacemaker. We get told our feelings pass. We get treated like experiments so no I won't let this go.


Exactly, you're touching on my biggest problem with "queerbaiting" that always seems to be left out of the conversation these days, the fact that the origin of it is mostly just something to be "hot" to male viewers at best, and at worst, there because there are male viewers that are so insecure with their masculinity they can't stand the thought of their waifu being "stolen" by a male character. (But of course she will grow out of her gayness when she meets him.)

It's really great that actual lesbian/gay people are retaking queerbaiting, both as writers and viewers, and I have turned around on a lot of how I feel about it, learning that more and more women are actually the ones writing this stuff, even if the target audience is still men. But anime has a long, sour history of sexualizing lesbians and sexual behavior between female characters (ie boob grabbing), so forgive some of us longtime fans for seeing queerbaiting and rolling our eyes and assuming "this is male fanservice" over "Oh wow, I wonder if there are actual lesbians writing this!" (And in fact, we rarely if ever know that the writers are actually gay, since there are still plenty of straight women in the industry that enjoy creating ecchi and such, but at some point if women are writing it and queer women are enjoying it, I feel inclined to give it some credit.)
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FishLion



Joined: 24 Jan 2024
Posts: 52
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2024 11:42 am Reply with quote
Nev999 wrote:
I didn't go into Euphonium expecting the scenes it had, I just heard it was a beautifully animated girl band show but when it had them and then tried to pretend they never happened, it was still annoying.

Honestly, I'm fine with some good subtext.


This is where I'm at, I really like shows where there is romantic tension and connection between many characters but without confirmation either way. Everybody gets to have their favorite pairs with no one left out. I also love delicately crafted romances that have a well scripted sort of push and pull, will they won't they dynamic. I think the issue with those sorts of stories is they are such the norm in romances that stories often want to have their cake and eat it too.

There are stories about that like If You Could See Love that focus entirely on someone figuring out romance and what to do with their love life going forward and those work pretty well because they stay focused on the challenges of one person in a love triangle. Then you have shows that want to have a plethora of options for fans but still want to juice the drama of who the MC will choose. This is especially interesting for series based on dating sims, as part of the unique appeal is feeling chosen by having a successful romance with your favorite character. How do you design a show that evokes all of those feelings and doesn't have a different timeline for every ending? 100 Girlfriends does a great job of solving that harem dilemma by making the "character routes" feel personal and not incompatible in the same story.

To come full circle, I think queerbaiting is probably not the best term for this specific issue in the show. If we want to talk more specifically about stuff like the Class S trope's problematic history then that is definitely a fair discussion, but I think queerbaiting as a discussion should be more about teasing queer viewers outside the text/subtext and icky tropes should be in their own arena. Teasing the fan community with queer fanservice to hype people up without intending to ever take those relationships seriously and corporate marketing banking on having representation while giving essentially nothing in the media are both very clear cut examples of queerbaiting to me. It can be much harder when trying to analyze whether the content of a given story is purposefully teasing the viewer, is this a case of wanting fan service with no pay off or is it the studio trying to make content that's as queer as possible without the corporate producers putting their foot down? Is it the source material having a minor homosexual supporting character that the director wants to leverage for unabashedly gay content that the executives are using to then queerbait viewers independent of the desires of the production team?

We can talk all day about whether queerbaiting was intended or not, but unless we see the outright commercial exploitation of gay relationships outside of the work it is a question of media analysis that everyone will interpret differently. In the absence if such outright commercialization I think it is much more productive to center the conversation on analyzing whether the show itself is using detrimental tropes that can contribute to making gay relationships seems less important rather than try to suss out if the authorial intent was to bait fans based only on the content of the media.
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Oggers



Joined: 29 Nov 2017
Posts: 368
Location: Ontario, Canada
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2024 11:46 am Reply with quote
Axbox360 wrote:
The kiss in yuri on ice looked like a hug to me.


It's been confirmed that they kissed in that scene, and Victor's arm was only blocking their mouths because execs wouldn't have let it happen otherwise. Director Sayo Yamamoto has mentioned that she had to fight to include the scene at all.

In regards to Sound Euphonium, I did enjoy the first two seasons since I was a band kid in high school myself, but the way Kumiko and Reina's relationship re: whether or not they're actually into each other is handled has always bothered me, so I'm not sure if I'll watch this current season. Naoko Yamada has said in an interview that she doesn't consider their relationship as "yuri" and "wanted to depict adolescence", which unfortunately feeds into the idea that the intimacy of their relationship is just a phase that they're expected to grow out of.
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q_3



Joined: 02 Sep 2015
Posts: 141
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2024 12:17 pm Reply with quote
Juno016 wrote:
It's been a while since I've seen Yuri on Ice, but they kissed, didn't they? Obscured by their arms so as to try (and fail) to avoid controversy, but a kiss is a kiss.


It always felt like Schrodinger's kiss to me, given that literally no one in the story ever reacted to it. Even in a world without homophobia you'd think that a top figure skater and their coach kissing after a performance would be noticed and commented on or asked about by friends, family, reporters, etc. Or that the characters themselves might at some point have a conversation about what their relationship was. Despite being obscured to the viewer it felt like it existed solely for the viewer.
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Kaylee Smerbeck



Joined: 26 Jul 2017
Posts: 150
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2024 12:20 pm Reply with quote
Oggers wrote:
Axbox360 wrote:
The kiss in yuri on ice looked like a hug to me.


It's been confirmed that they kissed in that scene, and Victor's arm was only blocking their mouths because execs wouldn't have let it happen otherwise. Director Sayo Yamamoto has mentioned that she had to fight to include the scene at all.

In regards to Sound Euphonium, I did enjoy the first two seasons since I was a band kid in high school myself, but the way Kumiko and Reina's relationship re: whether or not they're actually into each other is handled has always bothered me, so I'm not sure if I'll watch this current season. Naoko Yamada has said in an interview that she doesn't consider their relationship as "yuri" and "wanted to depict adolescence", which unfortunately feeds into the idea that the intimacy of their relationship is just a phase that they're expected to grow out of.

Ah yes college lesbian syndrome ignoring the lesbians hurt by straight girls experimenting (see Scott Pilgrim)
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residentgrigo



Joined: 23 Dec 2007
Posts: 2447
Location: Germany
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2024 12:47 pm Reply with quote
Joss Whedon and or Hannibal queer baited like mad but homosexuality exists in those worlds so it´s all a bit of a shrug. Kyoto Animation on the other hand is adapting concluded source material and their shows have a conservative worldview. A lot of popular anime does, arguably most. What we have here is barely queerbait and more like marketing. All of course a road to nowhere, like Team Jacob merch.

(Why is this mug 14+?) Voting with your dollar is the only way to make some difference but choices are of course very limited in terms of gay Asian animation.
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dsfjr1190



Joined: 03 Jul 2017
Posts: 34
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2024 2:10 pm Reply with quote
I'm not one of those terminally online people who see queerbaiting in everything. You all know the type: Any time two characters of the same sex open up and have a real emotionally raw conversation, these people show up and say how obvious it is that these two characters belong together - and if you or the writers disagree, it's because of bigotry and queerbaiting.

So most of the time I roll my eyes when a show is accused to queerbaiting.

Not this time.

When I watched the first season, I honestly thought it was a love story between the two girls. The way it was written, drawn, and directed; the way the characters interacted... It all pointed to a lesbian romance.

Their interactions were the draw of the show for me.

So when the first season ended and I went online to see the discussion around it, I was utterly baffled that the director said it wasn't yuri. WTF? This along with learning the non-entity male childhood friend was the endgame really soured the show for me.

I tried watching a few episodes of season 2, but quickly dropped it.
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Oggers



Joined: 29 Nov 2017
Posts: 368
Location: Ontario, Canada
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2024 2:11 pm Reply with quote
residentgrigo wrote:
Joss Whedon and or Hannibal queer baited like mad but homosexuality exists in those worlds so it´s all a bit of a shrug.


Will and Hannibal confirm their (very twisted) love for each other at the end of the series, and showrunner Brian Fuller has said multiple times that the Hannigram ship is canon. So no, Hannibal isn't an example of queerbaiting.
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ANN_Lynzee
ANN Executive Editor


Joined: 02 May 2011
Posts: 2964
Location: Email for assistance only
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2024 3:05 pm Reply with quote
Juno016 wrote:
Kaylee Smerbeck wrote:
Also why are 2 men discussing this DURING LESBIAN VISIBILTIY WEEK


1) Same-sex couples who are women aren't always lesbians.
2) At least one of the collumn authors mentioned they are bi.
3) Queerbaiting is an issue for all queer people.

I personally think the collumn authors demonstrate a pretty clear understanding of the topic and the issue plaguing the show's romantic themes. Euphonium just started up again, and as such, so has this topic in the fandom. I don't think it makes sense to hold out another week just to avoid somehow stepping on our toes.


Thank you. As the bisexual female head of this department who had to read the whole thing first before deciding it was okay to publish, I get tired of constantly repeating my various statuses to prove something was valid enough to publish. We just did this a week or so ago about whether writers' opinions about a character's traits had merit based on whether they are neurodivergent or not. I'm kind of tired of having to trot it out or an expectation that the writers also must share this information in order to not be perceived as a cis/het default.
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Cardcaptor Takato



Joined: 27 Jan 2018
Posts: 4919
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2024 4:52 pm Reply with quote
Kaylee Smerbeck wrote:

That still leads into comp het like they had a lesbian relationship then grew out. Think college lesbians.
Comp het was a term made up by a transphobe who also had a lot of weird and potentially creepy ideas about sexuality and it always seems to be thrown around to deny bisexuality.
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a_Bear_in_Bearcave



Joined: 14 Jan 2019
Posts: 514
Location: Poland
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2024 5:17 pm Reply with quote
Kaylee Smerbeck wrote:
There is also the issue of writers not knowing they wrote queer characters example Maomao from Apothecary Diaries displays traits of aroace sexuality being repulsed by the only guy showing interest and only wanting to work on medicine.

Or maybe writer just didn't wrote queer character. Especially with high-school or younger teenagers, declaring character as definitely aroace before they openly say that about themselves seems to be not only hasty, but potentially harmful, it suggests that people develop only certain way, according to designated age milestones, and if they don't fit one common route, they must fit selected other designation, instead of possibly just being slightly different. As for being repulsed by main love interest, it's old bog-standard shoujo trope and is not really much of a proof.
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Cryssoberyl



Joined: 17 Jan 2009
Posts: 241
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2024 5:23 pm Reply with quote
Cardcaptor Takato wrote:
Kaylee Smerbeck wrote:

That still leads into comp het like they had a lesbian relationship then grew out. Think college lesbians.
Comp het was a term made up by a transphobe who also had a lot of weird and potentially creepy ideas about sexuality and it always seems to be thrown around to deny bisexuality.


If you think compulsory heterosexuality, the societal engine of conditioning, pressuring, and forcing people into a heterosexual lifestyle isn't a lived reality for women of all orientations, you need to re-examine your biases - and the conspiracy theories that have apparently arisen from them.
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Cardcaptor Takato



Joined: 27 Jan 2018
Posts: 4919
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2024 5:39 pm Reply with quote
Cryssoberyl wrote:

If you think compulsory heterosexuality, the societal engine of conditioning, pressuring, and forcing people into a heterosexual lifestyle isn't a lived reality for women of all orientations, you need to re-examine your biases - and the conspiracy theories that have apparently arisen from them.
Good thing I never said any of that and you're proving my point at using the term to deny a bi reading of fictional cartoon characters.
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